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Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Duffy, Apr 28, 2009.

  1. Duffy


    Apr 28, 2009
    Winfield, Pa.
    Since I'm new to the forum and asked for help in a previous post maybe I can offer some info that may be of help to someone, although I'm sure most of you are already aware of this.

    When I bought my Schecter Stilletto Elite V five string bass I decided to get a small practice amp to supplement my big amp. I checked around, took my bass along and found that the new release Marshall MB30, thirty watt ss bass amp works great with a five string.

    I tried about five other practice amp in the same wattage category and "all" of them cracked and popped when trying to produce the sound of the B string, the very low frequency string.

    I think it is the amplifier section, not the speaker, because one of the amps was an SWR LA 10 which probably is a fairly decent practice amp. It cracked an popped as bad as the Peavey's.

    The Marshall MB30, no affilliation, held the sound without distorting, but it's not regular type distortion you hear, it's a crackling and popping sound that sounds very destructive.

    So, if I was someone considering a five string bass, I would bring my amp in with me and see if it can handle the B string wthout crackling and popping. I don't think that a lot of the amp sections are set up for the low frequency of that B string.

    I'm an amateur, so this is just hands on experience talking and my idea that it's the amp and not the speaker could be wrong; but I would think the speaker would not be the determining factor, especially at low volume. I would think the speaker would have enough variance designed into it to handle the B string.

    This is why I think the amp sections are the source of the problem. The amp sections may be designed to handle specific frequency ranges and when the input signal is outside of that discrete range they are not prepared to handle it. Again this is conjecture. Some of you pro's surely know what is going on.

    But a word to the wise: if you are getting a five string take your amp and make sure it doesn't break up real ugly when you hammer that B string even moderately softly, not to mention really hammering it at any volume.

    Hope this observation based upon my personal experience is of some value and not way off the mark.

    Glad to join the group,


    More to contribute later, if you all are interested.
  2. dbassman59


    Dec 19, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
  3. MIJ-VI

    MIJ-VI Banned Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2009
    Welcome to TB Duffy, and thank you for the MB30 insight. :)
  4. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Welcome to TalkBass! You're going to find this a fun and informative place to be, I'm sure.

    Interesting comments about the Marshall. Lots of smaller combos, especially practice type ones, struggle to produce a low B string without the sound noticeably breaking up. It's usually due to the overall design (power stage of amp, driver, enclosure design) rather than any one particular aspect as it's very hard to get really low frequencies at useable volumes out of a small box with this sort of amp. Higher end (and more expensive) designs with a lot more power output from the amp can sometimes be quite impressive for their size, though. But it's good to hear that the Marshall is working for your current playing situation.
  5. Duffy


    Apr 28, 2009
    Winfield, Pa.
    Thanks guys, appreciate it.

    Winfield, Pa
  6. Welcome to TalkBass Duffy.

    About your practice amp Low B issue (If its an issue) the slightly scary thing is that i got practically the cheapest amp i possibly good, from a site called Gear4Music over here in the UK. It cost me £80 ($140-$150) for a 25w amp, strap, gig bag, lead, tuner, picks and stand. The amp can handle a low B so easily, and considering it was so cheap i wasnt expecting that when i first got my 5.

    Doesnt really relate to you much but i just thought i'd throw it in there.

  7. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Welcome to Talkbass!

    It is more than likely the speaker. Lows really push the limits of what they can handle. Speakers have a "thermal" rating (the watts they can handle), but they also have a displacement value as well. Small speakers in small cabs are not going to handle the lows well. Some speakers are designed for greater movement so as to handle the lows better before crapping out (which in further reading you'll see it termed "xmax"). The speakers and the design of the cab determines the ability to handle certain frequencies at certain volumes.

    When dealing with a low B, you really don't need a cab to produce the fundamental 31Hz of a low B. You are better off with one that can handle the next harmonic above it, like 62Hz. Very few commercial cabs (like really all of them) can't handle 31Hz, and those that can handle 62Hz don't produce as much volume at that frequency anyway. If you've found an amp that is relatively small yet handles the low B it's entirely possible that it is only handling 124Hz (the next harmonic above that) and the lows below 100Hz are attenuated. Your ear won't hear much difference between 31Hz, 62Hz, or 124Hz even though your speakers will handle them entirely differently. Just be careful pushing the bass much on a small cab, especially with a low B.

    Having said all of that, since you are new to Talkbass, my advice is to completely ignore everything I say. Welcome!

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